One common complaint about the Chess World Cup is that the tournament tends to be a little more exciting in the early rounds, when there are lots of matches to pay attention to, then in the later stages, when the few remaining players play carefully, taking few chances and agreeing to a high percentage of draws in the classical time control games. Whether you subscribe to that view or not is up to you, of course, but it is worth noting that the biggest prizes had already been awarded to players in this year’s tournament before the final was even played. Two spots in next year’s Candidates Tournament were promised in this event, meaning that both of the finalists — Vladimir Kramnik, who was virtually assured of being a candidate one way or another, and Dmitry Andreikin, for whom this was almost certainly the only way into the World Championship cycle — were guaranteed to take those seats.

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